Marketing Has Heavy Influence on Latino Childhood Obesity


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Editor’s Note: This is Part 1 of a series on new Salud America! research briefs examining Latino youth nutrition, physical activity and marketing. Today’s focus is marketing.

As with other children and adolescents, marketing may also have a powerful influence on the health behaviors of Latino youth.

A new Salud America! research brief shows that:

  • The amount of time young people spend with entertainment media has risen dramatically, particularly among Latinos.
  • Latinos are avid users of digital media, including the Internet and mobile phones, among other new media platforms (e.g., Facebook, MySpace).
  • Latino youth, have been identified as an important target market segment among fast-food and soda companies.
  • Children viewing Spanish-language TV in the U.S. are heavily exposed to food and drink commercials.
  • Low-income Latino communities are disproportionately exposed to outdoor ads for high-calorie, low-nutrient foods and beverages.
  • Latinos perceive greater exposure to fast-food promotions and see fast-food restaurants as more conveniently located relative to whites.

To address the paucity of research on the influence of marketing practices specifically targeted to Latino youth, a full range of studies is necessary related to these findings.

But what should policymakers do?

Policymakers should, as the brief suggests, consider banning all junk-food advertising to young children and banning junk-food advertising techniques that are deceptive and misleading to adolescents to reduce the potential influence of marketing for high-calorie, low nutrient-dense foods. Fast-food, soda, snack, and cereal companies should be encouraged to adopt meaningful standards for child-targeted marketing.

Also, public and private funds should be used for culturally competent, Spanish-language
counter-marketing and health promotion efforts.

Read more here.

By The Numbers By The Numbers



of Latino kids have obesity (compared to 11.7% of white kids)

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